Articles Posted in Emergency Room Errors

Connie Lockhart was hospitalized after overdosing on medication. She was 58 years old at the time of this incident. An emergency room physician inserted a central line femoral catheter in her right leg. However, this was misplaced into her femoral artery instead of her femoral vein.

Lockhart was transferred to the facility’s ICU where she received care from critical care pulmonologist Dr. Sachin Lavania.

Nurses informed Dr. Lavania that Lockhart’s leg had become cold, mottled, and pulseless.
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Sharon Wiser, 62, had a history of migraine headaches. She experienced right-sided headaches over a two-week period. She went to Essentia Health Duluth Clinic, where she reported her headache history and told the clinic staff that she was suffering from blurred vision.

Wiser was discharged from the clinic with a diagnosis of a migraine headache and was given a prescription for Toradol. The next day, she consulted a family physician who advised her to follow up if her symptoms did not improve.

One week later, she returned to Duluth Clinic, where internist Dr. Alan Peterson ordered a CT scan of her head. The next night, however, she went to an emergency room, complaining of a significant headache.
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Paul Chicoine was 47 years old when he experienced nausea, vomiting and extreme dizziness as he was painting a ceiling. He then developed left-sided numbness, weakness, and slurred speech.

He was taken by ambulance to a hospital where he was given medication. An emergency physician, Dr. Michael Mendola, ordered blood tests and a CT scan of the head. The finding from the CT scan was negative except for a note about a sinus inflammation. Chicoine was then discharged with the diagnosis of vertigo and sinusitis.

Eight days after discharge, he suffered a stroke. After extensive rehabilitation over eight months, he returned to his job as a court officer. He has been unable to continue working due to his deficits, which included vision impairment and limited use of his left hand, which were the result of the stroke.
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Melanie Smith, 40, was taken to a hospital suffering from a severe headache, slurred speech, dizziness, right-sided weakness, and vomiting. These were all apparent signs of a stroke.

Two hours after she arrived at the hospital, an emergency physician, Dr. Antonio Baca, examined her, prescribed migraine medication and ordered a CT scan. The scan was negative for hemorrhagic stroke.

However, Smith’s symptoms continued over the next few hours. Dr. Baca ordered an MRI and consulted with a neurologist. The MRI showed that Smith had suffered an ischemic stroke. She was then transferred to another hospital where she underwent a craniotomy. A craniotomy is the serious surgical procedure in which the skull is perforated. A bone flap is temporarily removed from the skull to allow access to the brain by the neurosurgeons. A craniotomy is usually completed so that neurosurgeons can remove a brain tumor or an abnormal brain tissue.
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Michael Fava, 58, went to the emergency department complaining of leg pain that had not improved since he was seen at another hospital the previous day. He was diagnosed with having a retroperitoneal hemorrhage and a lack of blood flow to the legs.

However, the treating vascular surgeons, Dr. Harold Chung-Loy and Dr. Vincent Moss, chose not to determine the cause of the bleeding.

Fava spent four days in the hospital, which ended when he had bilateral above-the-knee leg amputations as a result of the lack of blood flow to his legs.
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In the confidential reporting of this case, Mr. Doe, 58, developed shortness of breath. He was admitted to a local hospital where he underwent various tests to rule out pulmonary embolism.

The hospital staff interpreted a pulmonary angiogram suspicious for, but not diagnostic of, an embolism. Mr. Doe was prescribed Coumadin and injectable Lovenox. He was then discharged from the hospital.

The following day, Mr. Doe returned to the emergency room complaining of severe abdominal pain. A CT scan and ultrasound showed a rectus sheath hematoma with internal bleeding. A rectus sheath hematoma is described as an accumulation of blood in the outer lining or sheath of the rectus abdominis muscle. The condition causes abdominal pain with or without a mass. The collection of blood or the hematoma may be caused by either rupture of the epigastric artery or by a muscular tear.
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Peter Sfameni, 55, stopped taking Warfarin before he underwent a colonoscopy and chose not to resume taking the medication after the procedure. He developed lower back pain, fatigue and weight loss, which prompted a trip to Rhode Island Hospital’s emergency room. He was admitted to the hospital, underwent a bone marrow biopsy and was scheduled for a lymph node biopsy. He was discharged with instructions not to take his blood thinners until a week after the upcoming lymph node biopsy.

Sfameni developed severe blood clots in his legs and lungs before the date of the biopsy. Sfameni returned to the hospital where doctors diagnosed gangrene in his right leg, which required an above-the-knee amputation.

Sfameni spent five months in the hospital, followed by four months in rehabilitation. He now uses a prosthesis and experiences constant phantom pain, anxiety and depression.
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Mary Stevenson was 55 years old when she was taken to the hospital suffering from a severe headache and shortness of breath. At the hospital, she was diagnosed as having hypertension; a doctor prescribed blood pressure medication. She also underwent blood work before being discharged to her home.

Within hours of her discharge, she began to experience seizures and vomiting. She was rushed to another hospital where she was diagnosed as having bacterial meningitis. She lost consciousness and died just two weeks later. She is survived by her two adult children.

One of Stevenson’s daughters, individually and on behalf of her estate, sued two doctors who treated her at the first hospital maintaining that they chose not to diagnose and treat bacterial meningitis.
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Nicole Hill was 33 years old when she went to the hospital emergency room complaining of acute lower back pain, as well as hip and leg pain. An emergency department doctor prescribed pain medication and sent her home.

Hill’s pain continued and as a result, she came back to the same hospital two weeks later telling the same doctor that her symptoms had increased and that she was suffering numbness and incontinence. She again was released with instructions to obtain an outpatient MRI.

Hill went to another hospital, this time a week later, and was diagnosed as having cauda equina syndrome and a massive disk herniation at level L5-S1. This condition is a medical emergency in most instances.

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Rebecca Gaither was transported by ambulance to West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park, Ill., on Nov. 27, 2012 with complaints of rear lower head pain and vision loss in her right eye. At the emergency room, she complained of a sudden onset of neck pain with an immediate episode of seeing stars in her right eye.

The triage nurse assessed her blood pressure as elevated and assigned her to the next available treatment bed. During examination by an emergency department doctor, Gaither, who was just 47 years old at the time, reported a sudden onset of lost bilateral vision and sharp neck pain while she was reaching for a phone. Following a normal neurological exam, the ER doctor ordered CT scans of the head and neck with and without contrast, for a suspected dissection of the left vertebral artery.

However, Gaither collapsed and became unresponsive before the scans were done. She was immediately transferred from West Suburban Medical to Loyola Medical Center in Maywood, Ill., where a CT angiogram showed a ruptured 1.6-centimeter aneurysm in the right ophthalmic artery, left vertebral artery dissection with arteriovenous fistula and extensive severe fibromuscular dysplasia.
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